Marketing to generations that are older or younger than what you’re used to can pose a challenge when developing a strategic marketing plan. Not to mention, it’s time to start planning for a mature audience if you haven’t already. After all, it’s estimated that older people are expected to generate half of all urban consumption growth between 2015 and 2030. It’s true, aging isn’t glamorous, and selling products to make life easier for older adults isn’t always fun. But, with some adjustments, you can tailor your plan to a more mature audience. Here are four tips on how to market your product or services to older adults (hint: they probably don’t want to be called seniors).
Define your target audience
Which generation are you looking to target? Chances are there are several. Baby Boomers (1946 -1964) will be in your target audience as well as the Silent Generation (1928 – 1945). One of the challenges is they have different values and communication styles compared to Boomers. Let’s not forget a third audience to keep in mind – the adult children of the previously mentioned audiences. Oftentimes they’re doing the research on behalf of their aging parents on products and helping them make decisions about future plans.
Consider creating personas for your audiences to better understand and define exactly who you’re targeting, how they consume content, and what motivates them. Marketing to several audiences at once can be tricky, but this article shares a few brands that have done it successfully.
Drivers and inhibitors
Do your research on what motivates your target generation as well as what prohibits them from making a purchase. Dig in and define how older adults make purchasing decisions. Where do they shop or do research on products? Do they use the internet or do most of their research via the newspaper? Some of your research should include the type of device they use, what time of day they typically use the internet, how long they are online, general interests, what type of social media, and how they use it.
Consider listing out persona highlights to narrow down areas that overlap for all three, or at least two. Since it’s nearly impossible to hit all three at once, be strategic about how you can leverage your website and digital advertising to segment each target audience.
Don’t make assumptions
Boomers may not have grown up with the internet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not tech-savvy. Overlooking this generation with digital marketing is a common error that exemplifies stereotypes in generational marketing. The Silent Generation is focused on print advertising, but remember that their children and grandchildren are helping them do research online.
Another common misconception is the children of older adults are making decisions for them. It is more likely true for bigger decisions such as downsizing and selling the family home or purchasing a new car. But they are strong, smart, independent thinkers and still able to make their own decisions most of the time. They want to be as independent as possible for as long as possible and that includes making decisions for themselves.
You may have noticed a theme throughout this post and it’s the prefix “multi” – multiple generations, multiple audiences and now multi-channel. Hit your consumer at all levels! Older adults use a variety of mediums to do their research. Be sure to use traditional methods of marketing like print advertisements as well as digital advertising. Do your research to know how your audience likes to consume information and maximize. Use targeted display ads based on age and interests to maximize your spending. Unsure of how to choose keywords for this audience? Check out these tips.
Bonus tip: Make sure to appeal to your audience by using images and messaging they can relate to while showcasing your product and how it will make their life easier.
Have questions on how to get started on marketing your product or service to a specific audience, including older generations? Get in touch! We’d love to brainstorm an approach that appeals to your specific audience.